Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

About 30 miles north of Rockport off Texas 35 is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, an exciting fly-fishing destination. Several scenic flats on the 54,828-acre mainland portion of the refuge are open to roadside, walk-in wadefishing from April 15 through October 15, the period when the endangered whooping cranes that visit the refuge in winter are absent. During this period, anglers are allowed to wadefish several flats on San Antonio and St. Charles bays. Several points along San Antonio Bay, on the refuge's Tour Loop Road, offer excellent fly-fishing prospects.

Visitors also may park under the live oaks at the picnic area and walk across the road to fish the shoreline and grass flats of San Antonio Bay, or proceed to Dagger Point, where an observation platform with wooden stairs leads anglers down a sharp dune face to another broad San Antonio Bay flat. Both venues offer excellent wadefishing with hard sand bottoms, grass flats, and oyster reefs. Flycasters should practice the same techniques that work on the other shallow bay systems of the middle coast, trying a variety of poppers, streamers, and minnow patterns in ankle- to waist-deep water. If wind or water conditions prove too challenging at Dagger Point, anglers who obtain the required permit from the visitors' center have the option of traveling to the back side of the refuge, where there is access to wadefishing along the shorelines of the smaller .St. Charles Bay.

The refuge is located north of Rockport near Austwell, off Texas 35. It is open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk. There is no fee for fishing, but visitors must register at the visitors' center.


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